I had previously written about the importance of training the mental faculties and personal development in education. Unfortunately our education system today does little for the personal development of our children. I also find that a lot of the skills for life and living are not taught in schools. Imparting knowledge has come to mean merely feeding the memory with information and facts.
Of course teaching children to read, write and count and giving them information related to various fields of knowledge is one function of education but should we stop there? Some people speak about education only in terms of job prospects. So is the purpose of education just to create people with the right technical credentials to fill the job market? We have to ask, what is our ultimate purpose in having education? For an individual and for a society there can only be one shared purpose – to create happiness. If education is not going to nurture a child who can independently be capable enough to live life meaningfully and happily then are we not deluding ourselves in the name of education?
How can education be the support we need to live life if the knowledge and skills to achieve our life goals and to live happily are not imparted? Instead of being obsessed with making students memorise all kinds of information which is sometimes utterly useless, children would be greatly benefited by learning practical skills that are truly useful to life. There are many important life skills that children should be taught such as: how to discover our life purpose and passion and how to align these with our talents and efforts; how to build our self-worth; how to communicate and express oneself confidently and effectively; how to find inspiration and keep oneself motivated; how to be creative; how to appreciate and love life; how to create good relationships; how to be a good parent; how to keep a supportive social environment; how to manage one’s finances and create financial security; how to keep our body fit and healthy; how to manage time and resources; how to nurture emotional health and develop positive thinking and how to plan, organise and implement actions efficiently to achieve our goals.
Let us stop pressuring children to become memorising machines and conditioning them to the conformist way of thinking. Let us abandon our demands for children to prove their self-worth in exams. Instead let us find ways to incorporate personal development together with all the necessary life skills into their education so that each child will be equipped with the abilities and tools to grow and achieve a happy and fulfilling life.